Panda Cup Finale is also in jeopardy with many competitors pulling out of the event.
The competitive Super Smash Bros. community is vastly different than it was just a week ago, and now includes one of the largest esports organizations connected to the scene.
Following First statements by Panda Global made around the controversy surrounding the Cancellation of the Smash World Tour and behind-the-scenes operations, more than 80% of Panda’s players and commentators from Smash and the broader fighting game community appear to have given up on the team thus far.
At the time of reporting, Melee’s main competitors Cody “iBDW” Schwab and Justin “Plup” McGrath, as well as Chris “WaDi” Boston, Ryan “Saint Cola” Collins, Zak “Coney” Zeeks, Terrence “TKbreezy” Kershaw, Marine and Victoria “VikkiKitty” Pérez have publicly stated their resignation or intention to do so.
“I quit Panda,” Plup wrote on Twitter. “I really enjoyed my time there and they treated me well. I know at a certain point they had the best interests of the community in mind. I just don’t think I can support them anymore. Now I have to sleep.” for 1000 years in preparation for the next tournament”.
It’s been about 4 months and I’m happy with the work that was done in that time and the people I worked with and had the opportunity to learn more. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know I’ll always find a way.
— TKbreezy 🎙 (@TKbreezy) December 3, 2022
This exodus from the company has already wiped out Panda’s roster of confirmed on-screen talent by more than half with others including Justin Wong, Victor “Punk” Woodley, Keenan “Kizzie Kay” Kizzie, Eduardo “HookGangGod” Deno, and Little Z. removing mentions of Panda from their Twitter pages, though they have yet to make a formal announcement.
The monumental response comes after the Smash World Tour announced the 2022 championships and the entire 2023 season would have to be canceled after Nintendo denied their licensing agreement.
SWT organizers accused Panda and its CEO, Alan Bunney, of misconduct in their attempts to recruit major tournaments for their own Panda Cup, which is officially licensed by Nintendo.
Panda’s response to the allegations came 3 days later, but it did little to quell the backlash from the Smash community and beyond.
I will not attend the Panda Cup.
Too little, too late. https://t.co/902CEl9VQe
— hungry box 🏆🏆🏆 (@LiquidHbox) December 2, 2022
Many other prominent players not sponsored by Panda have announced their intention to stop attending the Panda Cup Final, including Liquid|Hungrybox, CLG|SFAT, Tempo|Axe, LG|Maister, Liquid|Dabuz, BC |Magi, Fury| Fatality, GG|Zain, VGBC|aMSa, C9|Mang0, Fiction, GG|n0ne, Wizzrobe, T1|MkLeo, CG|Medz, Pipsqueak, FLY|KoDoRiN, LUM|Ginger and CG|Eddy Mexico.
The Panda Cup Final hasn’t been canceled and is still scheduled to take place on December 16-18 currently, though you usually need to have players to host a tournament.
Likewise, this also puts the future of the Panda eSports organization in serious jeopardy, considering that their roster of talent outside of the FGC currently consists of only 1 chess player according to their website.
To try to make up for the cancellation of the 2022 Smash World Tour Championships, popular streamer Ludwig has announced his intention to host “The Scuffed World Tour” on December 18 with invites to the top 8 SWT competitors in Smash Ultimate and Melee with the goal of raising money to help VGBC and players.
These are the 8 that I will invite from each game. If someone can’t make it, we’ll fly to the next highest point earner.
Also happy to provide a total prize pool of $50,000 for the event.
Let’s hope that makes it worth the players time! pic.twitter.com/NF4psOMlMD
—ludwig (@LudwigAhgren) December 2, 2022
Since its inception in 2015, Panda has rapidly grown to become one of the largest and most successful esports organizations with a growing roster of players, commentators, content creators, streamers, stat trackers and influencers focused on Smash and FGC.
However, as things stand now, it is likely that it will be difficult to recover from the mass resignation of staff and the perceived damage or loss of trust in their relationships with the community.